Finding the best gaming laptop is no easy task. You want something as portable as it is powerful, all while balancing battery life, heat, and fan noise. A lot of gaming laptops get this balance wrong, but a select few rise above and get it right.
We have a new crop of gaming laptops thanks to next-gen CPU and GPU options from AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, but one sits above the rest. The Lenovo Legion Pro 5 is the best gaming laptop you can buy right now thanks to its chart-topping performance, decent price, and fantastic build quality. But it's not the only great gaming laptop we've reviewed this year.
After reviewing dozens of gaming laptops, here are the portable gaming stations you should consider from brands like Asus, Razer, and MSI. If you want a few more options, make sure to check out our other guides:
Lenovo Legion Pro 5
The best gaming laptop
- Fantastic value
- Top-tier gaming performance
- USB-C charging available
- DLSS 3
- Middling screen
- A bit heavy
Why you should buy this: It's a reasonably priced gaming laptop that doesn't sacrifice performance.
Who it's for: Gamers who want peak performance without breaking the bank.
Why we picked the Lenovo Legion Pro 5:
There aren't many laptops that nail balance quite like the Lenovo Legion Pro 5. It's not a cheapo gaming laptop you feel like you're going to break, and it's not an expensive monster that will drain your bank account before you can enjoy it. It's reasonably priced, well-built, and powerful, and very few gaming laptops nail all three.
Although the Legion Pro 5 is a supremely powerful gaming laptop. It packs in an AMD Ryzen 7 7745HX, along with an RTX 4070 laptop GPU, easily offering over 60 frames per second (fps) in the most demanding games at its native resolution of 2560 x 1600.
Paired with a solid keyboard and great battery life considering the power inside, the Lenovo Legion Pro 5 is easily the best gaming laptop you can buy today. Even better, it comes in at $1,600, around half as much as you'll spend on a premium gaming PC with similar performance and specs.
There are some minor problems, including a rather bulky build and a massive power brick you'll need to lug around with you, but they are easy to overlook considering how much else the Legion Pro 5 has to offer.
Asus ROG Strix G17 Advantage
Best budget gaming laptop
- Cheaper than the competition
- Solid performance at native resolution
- DLSS 3
- Fantastic keyboard
- Low battery life
- Some configurations have poor value
Why you should buy this: It's a massive, fast laptop for a reasonable price.
Who it's for: Gamers who want serious gaming grunt without overspending
Why we picked the Asus ROG Strix G17:
The Asus ROG Strix G17 isn't the cheapest laptop you can buy, but it's surprisingly powerful for the price. The particular configuration we're recommending comes with an AMD Ryzen 9 7845HX and Nvidia RTX 4060, which is available exclusively through Walmart. Despite what the specs say, the machine routinely beats RTX 4070 laptops in games.
On top of that, the construction and keyboard are both excellent, and the laptop comes with a 1,440p display with a 240Hz refresh rate. You also have access to premium features like USB-C, which is still tough to find under $1,500.
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The smallest gaming laptop
- Excellent gaming machine
- Thin, small, and light
- Game-changing CPU performance
- Responsive touchpad
- Unique lid design
- Noisy at idle
- Mushy keyboard
- No webcam
Why you should buy this: It's the best portable gaming laptop you can buy.
Who it's for: Gamers, students, and content creators.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14:
Asus' ROG Zephyrus G14 has only gotten better over time, and with constant sales on last-gen models, it's easily the best value in gaming laptops right now. You can often find the entry-level model with a Ryzen 9 6900HS and RX 6700S for around $1,000, which is a downright deal.
Although it's not the fastest laptop, the Zephyrus G14 excels with its balance. It's super portable at only three-and-a-half pounds, and it has an excellent screen. The 14-inch display packs a 2560 x 1400 resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate, and it looks super crisp.
The keyboard is also excellent, and the battery life can last quite a while with the various battery modes built into the laptop. There are a few issues, such as the relatively inexpensive build quality and a lackluster webcam, but they're easy to overlook given the price of the Zephyrus G14.
We're recommending the last-gen model for now due to how inexpensive it is. However, Asus is preparing a next-gen model with RTX 40-series GPUs as well. We haven't had a chance to review the latest model yet, though we expect it to be much more expensive.
Razer Blade 14
An alternative to the Zephyrus G14
- Fantastic gaming performance
- Relatively cool and quiet
- Solid IPS screen
- Great battery life and portability
- Bulky charger
- More expensive than the previous model
Why you should buy this: It's a powerful, premium, and highly portable gaming laptop.
Who it's for: Gamers who want a premium machine that will last years.
Why we picked the Razer Blade 14:
The Razer Blade 14 used to top this list, but it has slipped in 2023. That's not because the latest model is worse. In many ways, it's a lot better. However, Razer increased the price of the Blade 14 this year, so although it doesn't earn a flat-out recommendation, it's still one of the best gaming laptops you can buy.
As with other Blades, premium build quality, an excellent screen, and solid battery life sell the Blade 14. It also boasts powerful hardware that deals blistering-fast gaming performance. Razer improved some areas this time around, too. Most notably, the Blade 14 now comes with a 16:10 display, offering a bit more screen real estate.
It also comes with user-upgradable RAM and storage, which is a big boost over last-gen's model. We reviewed the RTX 4070 configuration, combined with AMD's new Ryzen 9 7940HS, and it blows most games away. Razer also offers a model with an RTX 4060, but we haven't had a chance to test it yet.
Razer Blade 15
The best 15-inch gaming laptop
- Incredible screen for HDR gaming
- OLED 240Hz looks excellent
- Great port selection
- Decent 1080p webcam
- Clicky keyboard to type on
- Surface temperatures are hot
- Touchpad has palm rejection issues
- Battery life is poor
Why you should buy this: It has the best build quality of any 15-inch gaming laptop, and the screen is incredible.
Who's it for: Gamers who don't mind spending more for a premium build
Why we picked the Razer Blade 15:
The Razer Blade 15 has long been one of the best gaming laptops you can buy, which is a testament to how much Razer nailed the design years ago. This year's model isn't much different externally, sporting the same aluminum body and branding, but it comes with a major upgrade to the screen.
It has a 240Hz OLED display, which completely changes the laptop experience. Razer has previously offered the Blade 15 with an OLED panel, but it was locked to 60Hz. Now, you can get super-smooth gameplay and some of the best HDR money can buy in the same package.
The Razer Blade 15 isn't a slouch outside of the screen, either. It's stuck on last-gen GPUs for now, but you can still pack in up to an RTX 3070 Ti GPU, along with an Intel Core i9-12900H. It's still one of the fastest gaming laptops you can buy, and a compelling offer as prices drop on the last-gen version.
We have a few minor issues -- battery life isn't the best, and the trackpad, although large and spacious, is prone to register incorrect inputs. But the Razer Blade 15 remains one of the fastest, most well-built laptops on the market, and the updated OLED screen only elevates it further.
MSI GT77 Titan
The most powerful gaming laptop
- Exceptional 4K gaming performance
- Speedy multi-threaded performance
- Beautiful 4K mini-LED screen
- Generous port selection
- Very expensive
- Loud and hot
Why you should buy this: It's a laptop that's even faster than most high-end desktops.
Who's it for: Gamers who want peak performance regardless of the cost.
Why we picked the MSI GT77 Titan:
If you're looking for the most powerful laptop you can buy, the MSI GT77 Titan wins, hands down. It's absurdly large and expensive, clocking in at nearly $5,000, but it's powerful enough to even outclass a desktop RTX 3090 Ti in some games.
For specs, the GT77 Titan settles for nothing less than the best. It sports a 55-watt, 24-core intel Core i9-13980HX, along with 64GB of RAM and a mobile RTX 4090 graphics card. With a massive cooling array keeping all these parts running, the GT77 Titan rivals high-end desktop performance in a 17.3-inch package.
It doesn't sacrifice elsewhere, either. A comfortable keyboard with per-key RGB lighting makes gaming comfortable, and the mini-LED display offers some of the best color and HDR you can find in a laptop. It also has plenty of storage space, offering up to 4TB of SSD storage depending on your configuration.
This is definitely a desktop replacement, though. At over seven pounds and touting low battery life, the MSI GT77 Titan should stay tethered to the charger at most times. If you need the best performance money can buy, though, there's nothing better.
HP Victus 16 (Ryzen)
The cheapest gaming laptop
- Excellent productivity performance
- Solid 1080p gaming performance
- Comfortable keyboard
- Display is good for both productivity and gaming
- Reasonably priced
- Build quality is subpar
- Keyboard backlighting is limited
- Poor battery life
Why should buy this: It's a lot of gaming power for not a lot of money.
Who's it for: Anyone who wants a bona fide gaming laptop for around $1,000.
Why we picked the HP Victus 16:
If you want a true gaming laptop, then you need a real GPU. No integrated graphics allowed. But can you get such a machine for around $1,000? Thanks to HP's Victus 16, yes, you can. Not only that, but you also get a Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a 16.1-inch IPS Full HD display, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 3050 Ti. That's a pretty amazing deal these days for those who want a capable gaming laptop.
The Victus 16 is a replacement for HP's previous entry-level gaming system, the Pavilion Gaming 15. But it's an upgrade all around, with a better thermal design to keep things cool and faster components. You get the Omen Gaming Hub software pre-installed to allow for undervolting and other performance adjustments, and a solid but minimalist design lets you use the Victus 16 in a boardroom as well as a LAN party.
Another great budget gaming laptop
- Affordable while still being capable
- USB-C support
- GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card
- Performance will be good, but not top-tier
Why should buy this: It's a lot of gaming power for not a lot of money.
Who's it for: Anyone who wants a bona fide gaming laptop for under $1,000.
Why we picked the Dell G15:
If you want to keep an eye on your wallet while still packing in plenty of gaming features, Dell’s G15 will help you save a bit of money compared to many gaming laptop picks these days … but you won’t be giving much up in performance.
This model offers a 10-core Intel Core i5 CPU, paired with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 to handle graphics. The 15.6-inch FHD screen works well with those specs too, featuring an anti-glare display. You also get 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. Plus, all these specs are highly upgradeable if you want to turn this budget option into a powerhouse. You can choose up to a Intel Core i7 with 14 cores, improve graphics up to a GeForce RTX 4060, and boost RAM or storage if you want. That would take the price far beyond $1,000, but you have the customization options to use if there's an important spec you want to improve.
It’s also nice to see this Dell model offering a USB-C port for the latest charging and accessory support, along with Mini DisplayPort capabilities, plus HDMI and USB-A. If you’re willing to compromise a little — but not too much — on specs to get a gaming laptop under $1,000, this is one of the best bets around.
Asus ROG Flow Z13
The best gaming tablet
- Tablet gaming option
- Serious specs including a 120Hz refresh rate and GeForce RTX 2050
- Intelligent cooling
- 13-inch screen may be too small for some
Why you should buy this: It's a gaming machine in tablet form.
Who's it for: Gamers who want the most on-the-go option possible.
Why we picked the Asus ROG Flow z13:
Gaming laptops have a reputation for being large — that means bigger screens, more memory, better graphics, and other advantages. But some gamers are looking for a small option, models that prioritize fitting into a backpack or case while still offering gaming capabilities on the go. This Z13 2-in-1 model is a perfect example: You can easily switch to a tablet mode for casual gaming anywhere, with anyone.
The 13-inch tablet houses some serious specs too: We’re talking about a 120Hz refresh rate, a GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card, and 16GB of RAM. It even manages to make room for 512GB of SSD storage. You’ll also find a highly capable 12th-gen Intel i7 processor under the hood.
That may seem like a lot to pack into a tablet body, but fortunately, the model also includes intelligent cooling with a custom vapor chamber module. Wi-Fi 6E, USB-C, Thunderbolt 4, and a microSD card slot for extra storage are all supported here. If you’re looking for a gaming tablet solution, look no further.
Gaming laptops tend to be more expensive than more general-purpose laptops because they generally include a dedicated graphics chip for better game visuals and frame rates. The cheapest options start at around $700, though you can't expect great performance at that level. Our favorite budget gaming laptop, the HP Victus 16, can be found for under $1,000. There are some alternative budget laptops that we like, although you'll struggle to find something that's great for gaming once you edge toward $500. On the higher end, you can end up spending well over $2,000 if you want the latest components and fastest screens.
If you're going to play anything other than classic games or very low-intensity indie games, you want a dedicated graphics chip. It doesn't need to be something amazing, and AMD APUs with Vega graphics onboard are worth considering at the low end. Either way, you'll want something more than Intel integrated graphics if you want decent frame rates in most games.
If you expect to hit frame rates over 60 fps, it's also worth looking out for a high refresh rate display. We consider them more important than higher resolutions when it comes to gaming, and they typically aren't too costly.
Usually, yes. You don't need a dedicated graphics chip for working, but the fast processors and high-speed RAM that gaming laptops are typically equipped with are just as good at handling spreadsheets and Word documents as they are at crunching the numbers for the latest games.
Then again, a larger, thicker gaming laptop with RGB lighting might not be appropriate for every job setting. A more subdued design, like the Razer Blade or the G-series Dell gaming laptops, fit in much better.
Some aren't bad, but most of them aren't great. Apple only puts dedicated graphics chips in its MacBook Pro 16-inch models, and they come at a hefty price. There's also software compatibility to consider, as many more games are available on Windows than MacOS, even with the addition of Apple Arcade.
If all you want is a little Fortnite on the side, a 16-inch MacBook Pro will get you by, but these are not gaming machines by any means. Boot camp used to be an option for MacBooks, but since Apple switched to its own M1 chip, this isn't an option for newer machines.
They can, especially if they run hard for longer periods of time. Laptops don't have the same cooling and circulation options as desktops, so heat damage can be a concern. Give your laptop plenty of space when gaming, and consider a laptop stand if your fans keep working overtime or you start crashing because of overheating.
Not like a gaming PC. The compact nature of laptops means that you have fewer upgrade options available. It's unlikely that you'll be able to switch to a different CPU or GPU, and support for memory upgrades is hit or miss. This is one of the big costs of the portability that gaming laptops provide.
You can try it, but there are more risks, and it depends on what kind of outside you have in mind. Sitting under a cover or in a sheltered area would be best. If you are in direct sunlight, especially on hot days, your laptop can quickly overheat. If you're out during the day, you'll need to turn up the brightness and that will sap your battery even faster. If it's windy, dust and grit can get blown into your keyboard. Also, you'll definitely want to stay close to an outlet if you want to switch to your adapter. For the sake of your laptop, it's best used in an enclosed environment.
Practice the basics, like avoiding overheating and not leaving it near fires or heaters. Don't eat or drink near the laptop to avoid any accidents. You may also want to invest in a sturdy large laptop bag if you plan on carrying it around frequently.
Also, if you're interested in a particularly vivid picture, you may want to stop by our list of the best OLED laptops around, too.
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